Soups, otherwise known as canh, is a staple in Vietnamese home cooking. However, rather than being served on its own, soup is treated as a side dish to steamed rice and a protein entrée. It is meant to be light and enjoyed throughout the meal as a palate cleanser between bites.
A simple Winter/Fall soup is Vietnamese Kabocha Squash. In this post, I made Kabocha Squash Soup using chicken bones that I saved from butchering whole chickens. For the pork version, click here.
Kabocha squash (Bi Do) is also known as Japanese pumpkin. The addition of Kabocha squash in soups gives it a smooth sweetness. The color of the squash also comes out in the chicken broth, giving it a beautiful orange color.
Squash soups are perfect for the cold season. Vietnamese kabocha squash soup is one of my favorites as it can be eaten without peeling off the skin. Lots of people will say remove the skin but when you realize how difficult it is to remove, it’s best to just leave it. The cooking will soften the skin, adding more color and nutrients to the soup!
Vietnamese Kabocha Squash Soup with Chicken (Canh Bi Do Nau Ga)
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2-3 green onions (thinly slice white part and cut green part into 1-inch segments for garnish)
- 2 liters water
- 1 lb chicken bones(thoroughly clean with 1 teaspoon salt then rinse)
- 1-1/2 lbs kabocha squash flesh (with or without skin)
- 2-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons white granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons chicken stock powder
- Pinch black pepper (1/8 teaspoon)
- Add vegetable oil to the bottom of a small pot. Heat on medium low. Add garlic and whites of green onions. Stir until fragrant (about 15 seconds).
- Fill pot with water (2 liters). Add chicken bones. Bring pot to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Occasionally skim off the foam at the top as needed. Remove chicken bones.
- Add kabocha. Cook for 5-10 minutes until squash can be pierced with knife with a bit of resistant. Do not overcook!
- Season stock with salt, sugar, stock powder and black pepper.
- Turn off heat and garnish with green onions.